ALBANY -- A team of Albany Middle School students will compete this weekend in the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science's National Science Bowl. The winner of the regional competition will win a trip to Washington, D.C., for the national competition in late April.

Albany Middle School is one of 20 teams competing Saturday at Las Positas College in Livermore. The event is also hosted by Sandia National Laboratories.

"A lot of scientists that work at Sandia labs moderate the games," team member Andrew Liu said. "It'll be pretty cool."

Liu, an eighth-grader at Albany Middle School, was a member of the school's team last year. Eighth-grader Jenny Li is also returning from last year's team.

This year, they'll be joined by fellow eighth-graders Benson Yi, Lin Zhu and Andrew Zhang.

"We tied for ninth, so we hope to improve on that this year," Liu said.

It has been a long process preparing for the competition, according to Liu.

"In October, we had a weeklong tryout for the team," he said. "Everybody who made the first cut practiced every day during winter break from 9 o'clock to 5 o'clock. Last week, we had the final cut. This whole week, we had practice from 9-6. The last couple of weeks, we had practice after school."

Liu said he has gotten more interested in science as he has gotten older, especially in chemistry. He said he doesn't know whether he wants to pursue a career in science.


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The competition works like a game show, except with smarter questions. Students buzz in with their answers. Teams face off against each other in a round robin. The top two teams from each division advance to a double-elimination round.

The subjects will be math, earth science, space science, biology, chemistry, physics and energy.

According to the Department of Energy, more than 225,000 students have competed in the Science Bowl since its inception 22 years ago. About 14,000 students are expected to compete this year.

The national competition is scheduled April 25-29.